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Lesson Transcript

Shira: Hello and welcome to HebrewPod101.com’s Absolute Beginner Season 1, Lesson 9 - Asking a Question in Hebrew. I’m your host, Shira.
Amir: Shalom, I’m Amir.
Shira: In this lesson, you will learn how to ask questions in Hebrew.
Amir: The conversation takes place at David and Sarah’s house.
Shira: It’s between Peter, David and Sarah.
Amir: The dialogue is informal.
Shira: Let’s listen to the conversation

Lesson conversation

Peter: זה... בשביל מזל טוב?
David: זאת חמסה.
Sarah: כן, זה בשביל המזל.
Peter: חמסה.
English Host: Let’s listen to the conversation with English translation.
Peter: זה... בשביל מזל טוב?
Shira: Is this for good luck?
David: זאת חמסה.
Shira: This is a hamsa.
Sarah: כן, זה בשביל המזל.
Shira: Yes, it’s for luck.
Peter: חמסה.
Shira: Hamsa.
Shira: I think a fitting subject for this cultural insight is the hamsa.
Amir: A hamsa is a very popular item seen all over Israel. It’s a hand that symbolizes the hand of God or the hand of Miriam according to some Jewish traditions.
Shira: The hamsa is a sign of protection and it’s thought to bring good luck to its owner.
Amir: Some of them have an eye in the center of the hand to symbolize its protection against the evil eye.
Shira: You can find them as necklaces, bracelets, or in its most popular form, the wall hanging.
Amir: The word hamsa comes from the Arabic word for “five” because of the five fingers on the hand.
Shira: And actually, the hamsa originally comes from Islamic culture and it was adopted by the Jewish people living in Arab countries.
Amir: Later it was brought over when these people made Aliyah and came to Israel.
Shira: For a while it was thought to be something only for mizraħi Jews, but lately it’s been adopted by Israeli culture in general.
Amir: So, if someone gives you a hamsa as a gift, consider it good luck.
Shira: Now let’s go to the vocabulary for this lesson. First we have:
Amir: זה [natural native speed]
Shira: This, that or it.
Amir: זה [slowly - broken down by syllable]. זה [natural native speed]
Shira: Next:
Amir: בשבילך [natural native speed]
Shira: For.
Amir: בשבילך [slowly - broken down by syllable]. בשבילך [natural native speed]
Shira: Next:
Amir: מזל [natural native speed]
Shira: Luck.
Amir: מזל [slowly - broken down by syllable]. מזל [natural native speed]
Shira: Next:
Amir: טוב [natural native speed]
Shira: Good.
Amir: טוב [slowly - broken down by syllable]. טוב [natural native speed]
Shira: And last:
Amir: כן [natural native speed]
Shira: Yes.
Amir: כן [slowly - broken down by syllable]. כן [natural native speed]
Shira: Let’s look at the vocabulary in this lesson.
Amir: So our first word is מזל.
Shira: Mazal means “luck” or “fortune”.
Amir: You’ve probably heard it in the expression מזל טוב.
Shira: Or Mazal Tov. This means “good luck”, but it’s used more like “congratulations” in this context.
Amir: Our last word is טוב or “good”.
Shira: As with all adjectives in Hebrew, tov has four versions.
Amir: You change it according to the noun it describes. To demonstrate this we have four examples for you, of course.
Shira: Of course! First up is masculine singular
Amir: אוכל טוב
Shira: “Good food”. Now feminine singular
Amir: מיטה טובה
Shira: “Good bed”. Next is masculine plural.
Amir: כלבים טובים
Shira: “Good dogs”. The last one is feminine plural
Amir: ילדות טובות
Shira: “Good girls”. Okay, let’s move on to the grammar section.

Lesson focus

Shira: In this lesson, you will learn how to ask a question in Hebrew.
Amir: There are basically three ways to ask a question in Hebrew other than using an interrogative.
Shira: In our sample dialogue, Peter used voice inflection to ask his question.
Amir: זה בשביל מזל טוב?
Shira: This is really the easiest way to ask a question in Hebrew.
Amir: The second way is to add the word נכון or “correct” to the end of the sentence.
Shira: This is also pretty easy. Let’s hear it with Peter’s question.
Amir: זה בשביל מזל טוב, נכון?
Shira: The last way is the most formal way to ask a question in Hebrew.
Amir: You add the word האם to the beginning of the sentence. האם means “whether”.
Shira: האם means “whether”.
Amir: Here’s our sentence again with האם- האם זה בשביל מזל טוב
Shira: So it means “whether this is for good luck?”. Or “is this for good luck?”. Okay, that’s it for this lesson.
Shira: See you next time!
Amir: Le-hit’ra’ot!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Hi everyone!

What would you like to ask in Hebrew?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 03:53 PM
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Hi James,

Thanks for posting your question!

This is a little difficult to answer... some phrases are simply said differently in different languages, and in Hebrew, that's the way it goes 😅

If we were to say "זה בשביל מזל" one would understand this sentence as "this is for Mazal" - Mazal is a feminine name in Hebrew...

I hope this helps a little bit,



Team HebrewPod101.com

Thursday at 08:54 AM
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In this sentence, זֶה בִּשְׁבִיל הַמַּזָּל., the translation is "for THE luck". Why is there a הַ before the word מַּזָּל ?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Wednesday at 08:18 PM
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Dear לאה רות,

Thank you for commenting and sharing your question! 😄😄

Even though the word "חמסה" is feminine, as you correctly point out, the word "זה" in the sentence isn't necessarily referring to it... As I interpret it, the "זה" can be referring to the habit of hanging the חמסה on the wall, answering the hypothetical question "what is this about?"

So to keep short, the answer of the speaker is not that this specific חמסה brings the good luck (we can't know this), but that people do it for good luck, and therefore the answer with "זה" instead of "זו"...

Does this make sense to you? It is a very special case, so no worries if this is still a little confusing 😉😅

Please let us know if you have any further questions!



Team HebrewPod101.com

לאה רות
Thursday at 02:52 AM
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The noun חמסה is feminine, not masculine, so why when talking about it is זה used instead of זאת? So, why not: זאת בשביל מזל instead of זה בשביל מזל?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:27 PM
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Hi מומחד,

Thank you for sharing this positive feedback with us!

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions - we're always happy to help 😄👍👍



Team HebrewPod101.com

Wednesday at 04:11 AM
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i mean having hard time to study hebrew but with you guys i start to love learning it and thank you so much

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Thursday at 10:04 PM
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Hi Maria,

Thank you for sharing your Hebrew question 😄😄👍

Well done! Your phrase is almost correct - the only error is that "this" is written "זה" - with a "ה" instead of "א".

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions, and enjoy learning Hebrew!



Team HebrewPod101.com

Monday at 03:43 AM
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האם זא כלב?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Sunday at 06:01 AM
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Shalom Joseph,

The words that are tested in our quizzes are randomly sampled from the vocabulary of the whole series. This means that it is possible that you will encounter words that you haven't studied yet. However, as you progress with the lesson series and your knowledge grows, there will be less and less unknown words there. Hope this helps.

Kind regards,

Levente (לבנטה)

Team HebrewPod101.com

Wednesday at 11:38 AM
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When I take the assessment test after this lesson, I see words I haven't learned yet. Is this supposed to be the case? Am I missing lessons?